scuba dive the Poor Knights Islands New Zealand with


Blue Mao Mao arch is without doubt one of the most well known dive sites at the Poor Knights. It is where Jacques Cousteau based his claim that here is one of the top ten dive sites in the world.

As far as the Poor Knights arches go, it is by far the most readily accessible to the beginning diver due to the sheltered location and relatively shallow depth (8-10 M).

Giant stargazerFrom our anchorage in Labrid channel (14 M) I usually descend down the anchor line to the sandy bottom to have a quick scan for giant stargazers or stingrays, both of which favour this area. Then heading west Iíll come up over a knobbly ridge into a shallow rocky area which is generally a hive of activity and a good place to do a bit of blenny and triplefin spotting. This is also the portal into the arch.


Blue Mao MaoAt times there are so many fish in the arch it is impossible to see from one end to the other, and it is hard to notice the abundance and variety of colourful sponges encrusting the walls. At this point the decision is made whether to stay and then backtrack to the boat, or continue on through the arch and go around the point and then back to the boat. Both choices have their merits. In the arch you can just hover and watch the show unfold, and around the point you can see large snapper, colourful wrasse, moray eels, toadstool grouper, beautiful nudibranchs etc.

All in all a great dive site, and one which I am never disappointed in diving.Back to the map!

Colourful sponges






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